Teenagers Reading

research for my PhD thesis

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Research into Reading

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I’m finalizing the literature review for my thesis. (I may even have a thesis to submit one day soon!) And I revisited two papers:

  • “Is there a decline in the reading romance?” by Stephen Krashen and Debra Von Sprecken, and
  • “Longitudinal study of the reading attitudes and behaviors of middle school students” by Terry Ley, Barbara Schaer, and Betsy Dismukes.

Krashen and Von Sprecken examined the results of a number of studies of children’s reading [1], including Ley, Schaer, and Dismukes’ longitudinal survey of 160 US students over three years as they progressed from sixth to eighth grade [2].

In their review of the literature Krashen and Von Sprecken looked at “how much children enjoyed reading” and concluded any decrease in reading enjoyment as children age is only slight. Most studies used a 5-point scale and the average was always above 2.5.

At no stage do children show a negative attitude toward reading. [3]

Read the rest of this entry »


Written by ClareSnow

18 June 2009 at 2:11 pm

More on my Library Review article

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When I wrote my last post about my Library Review article Enticing teenagers into the library I thought it would be available online for all to read from espace@Curtin, but it still isn’t. Hopefully it will be sometime in May, but in the meantime, you can download it here.

When I first started working in a public library I saw all the programs there were for babies, pre-school age children, primary school age children, adults, and seniors and wondered why there weren’t any for teenagers. I asked if I could organize some. When given the go ahead I eagerly planned sessions on local music and graffiti. Then I discovered how hard it is to get teenagers to walk into a public library, no matter how relevant and entertaining your event is. If you have any comments on what I wrote in my article, please tell me.


Snowball, Clare (2008) “Enticing teenagers into the library” Library Review, vol.57, no.1. pp.25-35.


Purpose: Children and teenagers are the future adult users of libraries, and how they are treated in our libraries, particularly school and public libraries, can cement lifelong memories and habits in these young people. This paper aims to address this issue.
Design/methodology/approach: The following paper is a review of the literature on young people’s, particularly teenagers’ use (or lack thereof) of libraries, the importance of library use and methods to encourage library use in young people.
Findings: Despite the findings from some of the literature that teenagers are less likely to visit libraries, there were many services and programmes in libraries that aim to reverse this trend.
Research limitations/implications: Some of the literature is peer-reviewed, but selected pieces were written by librarians in the field about their interactions with young people in their libraries. Although the latter cannot be generalised to all young people, they are important in providing examples of what occurs in some cases and what might be replicated in other settings.
Originality/value: Encouraging young people to visit and enjoy libraries can be a rewarding experience and is important in creating the next generation of library users.
Keywords: Adolescents, Youth, Public libraries, School libraries
Paper type: General review

Written by ClareSnow

30 April 2008 at 11:10 am

Library Review article

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Last year I wrote a literature review about teenagers in libraries for Library Review. It was published in the January 2008 issue. I was waiting impatiently to receive a copy so I could put it in the Curtin Institutional Repository. At the moment it’s only available online if your library has a subscription to Library Review. If you don’t have that luxury contact me and I’ll email you a copy. (Don’t go to the Library Review site and pay £13 for it, soon it will be online for all at espace@Curtin)


The animal on the espace@Curtin logo is a numbat (Myrmecobius fasciatus). They are an endangered species and are Western Australia’s mammal emblem. Numbats are smaller than a cat and eat termites. They are one of only two marsupials in Australia that are active during the day, because that’s when their dinner goes out and about.


Snowball, Clare (2008) “Enticing teenagers into the libraryLibrary Review, vol.57, no.1. pp.25-35.

Written by ClareSnow

20 March 2008 at 2:13 pm

Real reading vs Literary reading

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I’ve just read Adolescents talk about reading: exploring resistance to and engagement with text by Anne Reeves (International Reading Association, 2004). I found it engaging and useful. Reeves describes her PhD research into teenagers’ views on reading, focusing on five case studies of high school students and their resistance to school reading. Reeves is a former teacher and her book is aimed at teachers, but librarians working with teenagers will benefit from her work.

Before my last post I’d read the following quote, but I couldn’t find it on the weekend (among all those post-it notes), but I just found it. Reeves is discussing popular fiction, particularly the romance fiction that high school student Rosa read voraciously. As I said in my post Real reading, some people think the whole format of graphic novels is inferior to ordinary text books in the same way that popular (genre) fiction is disparaged as not “literary.” Reeves says,

When the reading an adolescent loves is outside the realm of respectable literature, teachers are taught that their job is to move students away from their chosen genres and into the fold of “something better” as quickly as possible. Teachers are given the responsibility for making the young person a more mature reader and thinker who can look upon popular fiction critically and understand why it is “inferior.” (p. 155)

Reeves doesn’t agree with this view, and discusses how teachers can incorporate popular and more literary works into the curriculum to ensure teenagers aren’t alienated by books they don’t enjoy or understand and thus ensure reading does not become a chore to be avoided. This idea can be transferred to teacher librarians, part of whose job is to ensure young people encounter a variety of genres and formats in their reading, without making judgments on supposed “quality.”


Reeves, A. R. (2004) Adolescents talk about reading: exploring resistance to and engagement with text. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

Written by ClareSnow

18 March 2008 at 12:30 pm


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I’ve finalised my paper from the RAILS 4 seminar, ready for publication. It needs to go through peer-review, but will be published in Australian Academic and Research Libraries in June 2008.

Last year I wrote a literature review about teenagers in libraries for Library Review. It’s been published in the January 2008 issue. I had hoped it would be available by now, but the editor has told me it will be in the next week or so. When I receive a copy I will put it in the Curtin Institutional Repository, so it will be available online.


Snowball, C. (2008) “Enticing teenagers into the library” Library Review, vol.57, no.1.

Written by ClareSnow

27 February 2008 at 4:39 pm

Literature Review

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I have an article in the summer issue of Young Adult Library Services. I detail the beginnings of my literature review and the directions of my reading.


Snowball, C. (2005) “Teenage Reluctant Readers and Graphic Novels” Young Adult Library Services, 3(4), 43-45.

Written by ClareSnow

16 June 2005 at 9:58 am

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